Proposed hotel would be magnet for conventions, officials say

downtown hotelmayor-at-podiumIn the last decade, Kansas City spent $6.5 billion upgrading downtown infrastructure, officials said today, but the lack of a big convention center hotel remained an open pothole.

But today Mayor Sly James announced plans to build an 800-room, $300 million hotel.

“…at this point,” he said, “Kansas City has pulled a chair up to the table of great cities.”

Officials made the announcement at the Kansas City Convention Center’s Grand Ballroom, within sight of where the new hotel would be at 16th and Wyandotte streets.

The project would get city and county tax incentives and the city would help finance it, but only with $2 million a year for 25 years.

That money would come out of the existing convention and tourism taxes paid mainly by out-of-state visitors, James said.

untitled-(5-of-19)Hyatt will operate and manage the hotel that officials hope to have open in 2018.

The hotel within blocks of the new downtown streetcar that is to start next year will be “a rising tide that will lift all boats in the area,” James said, helping even other downtown hotels.

Ronnie Burt, president and chief executive of Visit KC, said the city in the last decade has lost hundreds of convention groups over hotel space, costing it more than $3 billion in economic impact.

Michael Burke, a leader of a project team that worked to put the deal together, said it will be the best site for a hotel in the city.

It will be close to Bartle Hall and the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and to where the UMKC music conservancy plans to move its operation.

In 1976, Burke said, the city was fifth in the nation in conventions and “we can be that again.”


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